Celebrating “Semi-Charmed Life”

April 1, 2010 at 6:14 am 1 comment

In the summer of 1997, my girlfriends and I camped out in a backyard tent and listened to “Semi-Charmed Life” on repeat for several hours. I’m the kind of person who tires after hearing a threshold amount of even the best music (How many times can a person really stand to listen to The Joshua Tree or Thriller?), but this Third-Eye Blind hit has never ceased to astound me.

As thirteen-year-olds, we only somewhat understood the sexually and chemically charged lyrics. Also, the breezy, fast-faced tempo made it difficult to decipher what lead singer Stephan Jenkins was even singing. It didn’t help that we couldn’t just “Google” a line from the song and retrieve the lyrics. I recall mistaking “And I speak to you like the chorus to the verse” with “And it speaks to you like the birds in the forest.”

Now, of course, I realize that “Semi-Charmed Life” is the seminal anthem of sex, drugs, and rock & roll. It was also my brother’s theme song. We played it at his memorial service, and it was awesome to hear “Doin’ crystal meth will lift you up until you break” and “How do I get back there to the place where I fell asleep inside you?” blast in a room full of relatives, young people, old people, Christians, atheists, and floral arrangements.

I went to Newport Beach this past weekend and had a great time slowly running my bare feet through the sand. I thought, “I believe in the sand beneath my toes / The beach gives a feeling / An earthy feeling / I believe in the faith that grows.” I thought about how hard it really seems, sometimes, to get through this bittersweet, ironic, defeating, gratifying, semi-charmed life. I thought about how I can’t not believe that there’s life after death. I simply cannot accept a reality in which I will never see Alex again.

I’m not listening when you say goodbye…

Entry filed under: Family, Music, Poetry, Pop Culture, Sexuality. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. anakalianwhims  |  April 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I think I have a Third Eye Blind moment at least once a week. There aren’t very many life experiences that a lyric doesn’t float through my mind, very similar to the sand beneath your toes. Many of mine come from Motorcycle Drive By (same album)… I remember driving north on 45 in college screaming this at the top of my lungs due to its relevancy… “I’ve never been so alone and I’ve never been so alive.”

    Like

    Reply

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